AMAIDI Volunteering in India

Portal for international volunteers, interns & professionals

"Where do I find new sponsors?"

  • Spread the word – Let people know about your organization and your goals.
  • Talk to your elected officials – MPs, councilors and others . Write letters to explain your group, and invite them to come see the area you are concerned with.
  • Get letters of support. A letter of support from a politician will put your sponsor’s mind at ease when it is time to hand over the money.
  • Establish relationships with other groups that can help you, depending on the activity you are planning. If you are planting trees or naturalizing a municipal park, maybe the local gardeners club or a scouts group can help.
  • Find out about awards, and get yourself nominated for anything relevant. A few plaques will make your group look competent and well-established!
  • Release press statements to the local newspaper. If you don’t have anything newsworthy to tell them, invent some news – arrange a tour of your site or give a talk to your local high school (and don’t forget to invite your elected officials to these too).
  • Find other ways to get your information spread around. Most local radio, TV or cable stations have time slots set aside for community events, and are looking for ways to fill them.
  • Create a binder with press clippings and a video with interviews that will make you look active and credible.

Preparing the home front

  • Appoint a contact person and have a clear a mailing address. Having a group spokesperson who can answer questions and provide more information will help in media relations
  • Establish an executive or advisory board – appoint a chair, a treasurer, and a secretary, and have the secretary keep notes of meetings.
  • Look at your group members and put together a list of skills – sponsorship is complemented by the time, skills, and expertise of the volunteers. This will help explain to a potential sponsor what value-added services you bring to the table.
  • Set-up a web presence – this will help provide information that you cannot transmit orally or through PR materials

Do your homework

  • Carefully look at who you’re approaching, research your target sponsor to find the right fit
  • Look at the sponsor’s previous philanthropic activities and its programmes/projects, and align your request around them
  • Put a case-for-support paper together, something that shows where there is a role for the sponsor to play
  • Remember volunteer initiatives run on persistence, enthusiasm, and community spirit. Sponsors run on numbers. Sponsors want to see a measurable benefit, and are ultimately accountable themselves.

Moving forward

  • Look for ways to establish a stronger, more permanent presence in your community.
  • Explore procedures to become a registered nonprofit group.
  • Decide to register your own domain name on the internet. Much like a mailing address, a permanent domain name lends a certain credibility to your venture.
  • Develop brochures, posters, and interpretive books as an effective way to raise community awareness.
  • Seek support for information and ideas with NGO networks and coalitions – nationally and internationally

(Courtesy http://www.gdrc.org/ngo/funding/finding-sponsors.html)

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Filed under: charity, finance, fundraising, social networking, , , ,

Donating to projects

More and more volunteers, once here or already planned before departure, want to donate money to support the projects they’re working in. Or guests at AMAIDI Guesthouse decide to make an ‘on the spot’ donation.

If one makes a ‘one time donation’ (school-uniforms, books, cycle, a goat), that’s that and on returning home a photograph of the happy receiver sits quietly in ‘Thousand Splendid Suns’, awaiting praise and joy on arrival.

But what to do if a motivated and kind-hearted volunteer wants to contribute to the construction of a community kitchen? This calls for ‘process engagement’ with all the hurdles to success that come with it, especially in the area of communication and monitoring from afar.

I personally advise volunteers to either:

a) make a one-time donation and taste the pleasure of seeing the result of it while still here; and/or:
b) engage in contact with a reliable NGO that operates in the area where the receiver lives.

The problem with option b) is that reliable NGOs tend to be too busy with their ‘own’ projects, whereas NGOs that do have time, might not be reliable enough. A prisoner’s dilemma?

I do believe that donating money to support a project can do good, but one has to think carefully before giving and – once decided – one has to make sure that agreed arrangements are kept after one has gone home. AMAIDI, at present, has a rol as advisor and is in no way involved in the implementation process.

Filed under: charity, donating, finance, international volunteers, reliability

"Increased confidence amongst charities" (The Guardian)

More staff than ever employed by charity, volunteer organizations
(from The Guardian)

Charities are signalling their confidence in the future of the voluntary sector by employing more staff than ever before, according to a new voluntary sector salary survey. Despite the number of high-profile charities that have announced redundancies in the last 12 months, the Annual Voluntary Sector Salary Survey 2004 showed that 40 per cent of charities are likely to employ more staff over the coming year. This is a sharp increase from last year’s survey that showed only 25% of charities predicting a rise in staff numbers throughout the year.
Published by survey specialists Remuneration Economics in association with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the salary survey points to an increased confidence among charities towards recruitment and retention of staff. Traditionally a volunteer-led sector, approximately one in three charities now employ paid staff, highlighting the increasing professionalism of the work of not-for-profit organisations in the UK.

Although this article per se is outdated, its significance is not. Especially if you consider that this article was written and published *before* the 2004 Tsunami, with in its wake the enormous amount of money made available to existing and aspiring funding agencies in the West who had to spend all this money through local NGO’s. And they still didn’t finish the job!

Filed under: article, charitable business, charity, confidence, donating, finance, not-for-profit organizations, voluntary work

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AMAIDI Volunteer in an evening school

AMAIDI helps out evening schools in teaching the children English

AMAIDI Foundation

The AMAIDI Foundation is AMAIDI's latest offshoot. AF is meant to support (ex)volunteers in their funding and implementing projects they support during or after their stay/work in India. For partners in India it is also an instrument that enables them to find (new) sponsors and donors to invest in their projects. And for donors to find the implementing agencies they need to realize their social targets/harvest their profit/social ROI

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